Prince Gomolvilas

Openly Gay Boyzone Singer Stephen Gately Dead at 33

Filed By Prince Gomolvilas | October 12, 2009 6:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Living
Tags: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Andy Cowles, Boyzone, Jim Steinman, Stephen Gately

Longtime readers of my blog, Bamboo Nation, know that I love boy bands, so the news that Stephen Gately, the openly gay member of Boyzone, has passed away saddens me deeply. BBC News reports:

Boyzone singer Stephen Gately has died suddenly at the age of 33 while on holiday in Majorca....

Gately was on holiday with his long-term partner Andy Cowles. His bandmates said they were "completely devastated" and are now travelling to Majorca.

The Sun has picked up the apparent cause of death:

Police who sped to the scene concluded the 33-year-old Irishman had choked on his [own] vomit in the night....

Andy, 32, awoke and discovered the body some time after midday....

One pal said..."Doctors later confirmed Stephen's lungs had filled with fluid. There was nothing Andy could have done. He had drowned and asphyxiated...."

A police source said: "Stephen was discovered in a strange position - squatting down by the sofa in almost a praying position.

"His partner was beside himself with grief and was being comforted in their bedroom by a neighbour who he'd called on to help."

Police sources said the star's death appeared to be natural....

Stephen and Andy first "wed" in a Las Vegas commitment ceremony in 2003 and more formally in a civil partnership ceremony in London three years later.

stephen gately andy cowles.jpg

Entertainment Weekly explains why Gately's death is such a big deal in the U.K.

I had always admired Gately, not only for his music but also his bravery in the media. Last year, when Boyzone officially reunited for the first time since 2000, I wrote:

Long before 'N Sync's Lance Bass came out of the closet and crushed the hearts of 13-year-old girls around the world, Stephen Gately was actually the first boy-band member to publicly admit he was gay. Back in 1999, Gately put the popularity of his Irish group, Boyzone (perhaps the gayest boy-band name, like, ever) at risk when he told The Sun, "I'm gay and I'm in love!" Coincidentally, it was revealed that he was head over heels for the member of another boy band, Caught in the Act (perhaps the second gayest boy-band name ever). So it is only fitting that Boyzone (reunited last year after disbanding in 2000) is now the first boy band to release a music video featuring a same-sex couple: Gately and [his partner Andy Cowles].

In the video for the terrifically cheesy ballad, "Better," the other band members are paired with women - they gaze at each other, caress, brush cheeks. And Gately does the same with a man. When he sings to his partner, "See, what I'm trying to say is/You make things better/And no matter what the day is/With you here, it's better," I melt a little.

Don't make fun of me. You know there is a tween girl trapped inside my body. And if you're a gay man who is reading this, you might as well confess to the same thing. CONFESS!

You know you want to watch the video now. So watch it.

For my money, Boyzone's only U.S. hit, "No Matter What" (an Andrew Lloyd Webber/Jim Steinman song), remains my favorite, which can easily double as a gay anthem. Watch:

No matter what they tell us
No matter what they do
No matter what they teach us
What we believe is true

No matter what they call us
However they attack
No matter where they take us
We'll find our own way back

I can't deny what I believe
I can't be what I'm not
I know I'll love forever
I know no matter what

If only tears were laughter
If only night was day
If only prayers were answered
Then we would hear god say

No matter what they tell you
No matter what they do
No matter what they teach you
What you believe is true

And I will keep you safe and strong
And shelter from the storm
No matter where it's barren
A dream is being born

No matter who they follow
No matter where they lead
No matter how they judge us
I'll be everyone you need

No matter if the sun don't shine
Or if the skies are blue
No matter what the end is
My life began with you

I can't deny what I believe
I can't be what I'm not
I know this love's forever
That's all that matters now
No matter what

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.

Regan DuCasse | October 12, 2009 6:40 PM

O...M...G! Oh, GOD!!!!

I'm so sad over this. This guy, I saw him on a chat show on BBC America and thought he was beyond charming and too cute!
It sounds like he might have had swine flu, the fluid in the lungs is symptomatic of it. You do drown in your own fluids. What a cruel and hard end to such a young, brave life.
Oh DAMN am I upset.

Those poor, men. His poor husband. My heart goes out to them.
I hope he's resting with angels.

Oh god, I just watched that concert clip and cried. :( Such a beautiful song, such a lovely voice.

R.I.P. Stephen Gately, he was a talented individual

Katherine V. London | October 12, 2009 11:20 PM

This is very sad. The song makes me think of what happened to him, and of his husband.

The Girlfriend, who is a nurse, points out that it's hard to know whether this death was a result of natural causes or not absent a toxicology report.

typically a tox screen associated with an autopsy takes four to six weeks, so we will have to wait to see if other issues come to light.

obviously we want to offer our best thoughts to andy cowles at what has to be a profoundly sad moment, and we hope that better days lie ahead.

The Lasting Tribute website has updated its memorial pages to include Stephen Gately.

It's a respectful memorial and somewhere to pay tribute to the band's and his family's fortitude at this difficult time.

EVERY comment is monitored so that nothing offensive or inappropriate is published.

He died like Jimi Hendrix?

RIP. While we'll need for the autoposy to confirm, I think it's likely that "partying" was involved. I am not familiar with this music but I always respect people who are out.